ENGLAND rolled the dice with another huge selection gamble ahead of the second Ashes Test that begins in the early hours of tomorrow morning, leaving out their fastest bowler, Durham's Mark Wood, for the day/night contest in Adelaide.

Wood was omitted from the 12-man squad for the pink-ball Test despite being fit to play, an eyebrow-raising call given the way his express pace unsettled Australia in Brisbane.

Figures of three for 85 did not flatter Wood, who hit a top speed of 94mph at The Gabba, dismissed danger man Steve Smith for just 12 and beat the bat consistently.

Yet he was the man to make way for the returning James Anderson, who is back to lead the attack after sitting out the series opener to build his match sharpness.

Wood’s career has been punctuated by injury problems, with a body that has not always been robust enough to string together back-to-back performances but, in the absence of Jofra Archer and Olly Stone, he is England’s last man standing in terms of genuine, bone-rattling speed.

With Australia opener David Warner carrying a painful rib injury into the match and showing some vulnerability to bouncers, deliberately dialling down the physical menace of the seam attack could be playing into his hands.

To put Wood on ice with an eye on later games amounts to a significant risk for a side who are already 1-0 down but captain Joe Root, who may cast Ben Stokes as an enforcer after being struck on the helmet by his vice-captain during a fiery spell in the nets on Tuesday, made the case for rotation.

“With four Tests coming up in the next four weeks, it is important that we keep our bowling group fresh and ready for each Test,” he said.

“Mark will play a pivotal role in this series and we have to ensure he is fresh and able to perform at his fullest capability. With three Tests coming up after this one, he will be ready to play his part in the rest of the series.”

Chris Woakes was quiet in Brisbane, but made the cut.